Investment Banking Landscape, The Harsh Truth
Traditionally viewed to be one of the most prestigious and lucrative sectors to work in, many finance graduates often dream about working in investment banking. In Singapore, investment banking analyst are reported to earn between SGD75,000 to SGD133,000. With such high compensation, it is therefore no surprise that competition to land a job in investment banking is extremely intensive. In a top investment bank like Goldman Sachs, the company receives over 43,000 applications. However, only 4% of them are hired into the company. So how can we set ourselves apart to increase our chances of being hired?
Investment banks like applicants who recognise that they are not entitled to work in an investment bank. More often than not, they view arrogance very poorly as it ultimately hinders one’s ability to learn. The more you think you are good, the less you would be willing to accept the comment of others.
Be Interesting and likeable
As they will be spending a lot of time with you in the office, investment bankers prefer people who are interesting. This may include unusual hobbies or interest that makes you fun to be with. Having a likable character and personality will certainly increase your chances of getting recruited. Naturally, no one likes to work with someone who is boring and nasty, right?
Be a team player
Unsurprisingly, the ability to work as a team is a trait that recruiters view highly of when it comes to investment banking. This is because investment bankers often need to work together in order to deliver the best results to their clients.
Be mindful of what you say
Due to the highly competitive nature of the job, the hiring process starts when you meet any banking representative. The things you say will affect their judgement of your fit as an investment banker and you could easily be eliminated as a candidate for saying the wrong things.
Have a good network
It is beneficial for one to maintain a strong network with existing bank employees and clients. Such connections will definitely be very useful in bringing you into the investment banking field.Through networking, you will make yourself known to industry professionalsThese working professionals can then make hiring recommendations which would allow you entry as an investment banker.
Making a mid career switch
While investment banking is extremely attractive to undergraduates, many working professionals are also enticed to make a career switch to investment banking. Unfortunately, if you are working in a completely unrelated industry, you will face difficulty when trying to enter into this highly competitive field. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
Investment banks are known to have the tendency to hire working professionals with a Masters in Business Administration (MBAs). This is because investment banks know that by going through the rigorous process of acquiring an MBA, you have probably withstand working in a fast-paced, high pressure environment. In addition, MBA graduates will probably have a certain level of technical knowledge in areas such as accounting and corporate financial concepts, thereby helping investment banks save time from having to teach these concepts.
Entering the investment banking sector is definitely not an easy feat. However, regardless whether you are a graduate or a working professional, with the appropriate skills, attitude and a little luck, you may eventually find the opportunity of being an investment banker knocking right at your doorstep.